Greece hoping for deal to unlock bailout funds by Sunday

Greece said it hopes to conclude by Sunday a deal with its international creditors to unlock much-needed bailout funds.

Greece said it hopes to conclude by Sunday a deal with its international creditors to unlock much-needed bailout funds.

"We intend to wrap up the agreement very quickly," Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said at a news conference.

The Greek government is "working on having an agreement by Sunday," he said.

"It is time to draft a text with the creditors on which there is agreement and find a solution on the questions that remain open," he added.

Sakellaridis`s comments came after the European Union poured cold water Thursday on Greece`s claims that a deal on its bailout was near, insisting that more progress was needed in talks between Athens and its creditors.

"We`re not there yet. There are open issues which need to be resolved," European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told reporters in Brussels when asked about the talks.

She said talks between Greek officials and representatives of its EU-IMF creditors had resumed in Brussels on Wednesday night after a delay caused by a major air traffic control breakdown in Belgium.

Her comments appeared to contradict those made by Greek officials earlier Wednesday that they were near a deal that would unlock the final 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) of bailout loan money to save Greece from default.

Four months into a stand-off between Greece`s radical left Syriza government and its creditors, time is running out for Athens, which may not have enough cash to make loan payments to the International Monetary Fund due on June 5.

"All the parties would like to avoid that eventuality ... the Greek government will do everything to avoid it," said Sakellaridis.

He said during the negotiations "we have shown that we want a mutually beneficial solution so all such scenarios disappear," he added.

Some fear a Greek default could trigger a chain of events that might result in a messy exit from the euro.

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